"Just Do All Kinds Of Crazy Things That Probably Won't Pan Out At All"

konstantin novoselov

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Years before Google instituted 20 per cent time, a team of scientists in the UK was working on pet projects in their spare time.Konstantin Novoselov describes these “scientific diversions” in Jonathan Fields’ new book Uncertainty:

just do all kinds of crazy things that probably won’t pan out at all, but if they do, it would be really surprising. [Andre] Geim did frog levitation as one of these experiments, and then we did gecko tape together. There are many more that were unsuccessful and never went anywhere (though I still had a good time thinking about and doing those experiments, so I love them no less that the successful ones).

Novoselov and Geim’s projects paid off one evening with the discovery of Graphene, a super-strong, super-light substance that would earn them the Nobel Prize in 2010.

Of course Google’s 20% time famously led to the invention of Gmail by Paul Buchheit.

The question you should be asking is why doesn’t your company encourage more crazy diversions.

See The 10 Greatest Inventors Of All Time >

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